Mapping the Future of Africa–China Relations: Insights from West Africa

Image: Getty, Lintao Zhang
Image: Getty, Lintao Zhang

The year 2020 marked two decades since the start of the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).


  • 2021’s Forum on China–Africa Cooperation summit will be the first to be held in a francophone country (Senegal) and the summit’s debut in West Africa.
  • It occurs at a moment of major shifts in the Africa–China relationship – one that raises many questions around how Africa would like the relationship to evolve.
  • West Africa–China relations have changed rapidly over the past two decades. Beyond trade, China is now a major lender to the region and deeply involved in training, infrastructure provision, and peace and security.
  • This paper argues that key areas of the FOCAC summit agenda will include health, economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, regional integration and debt.
  • It also makes concrete suggestions on how West African policymakers can maximise the outcomes of their relationship with China – insights that are applicable to the entire continent and many other regions of the Global South.
29 Sep 2021

File size: 395.68 KB

Research by
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 330, September 2021
SAIIA Programme
Foreign Policy
Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Scroll to Top